Mesothelioma Life Expectancy

Quick Summary

It is perfectly natural to wonder about your life expectancy after being diagnosed with any form of mesothelioma. It’s your doctor’s duty to provide you with a clear and well-informed prediction of what you can expect in terms of treatment, quality of life, and life expectancy.

While mesothelioma prognosis can be bleak, there is hope. New treatments are improving life expectancy, and you can count on support from friends, family, and your care team. Plus, there are steps you can take to possibly improve your life expectancy, or at least improve your general health and well-being.

Working with the right doctor is crucial for receiving an accurate life expectancy estimation. When it comes to the determining life expectancy in the discussion about prognosis, your doctor will make estimates based on the prognoses of past mesothelioma. They will put together a time frame by looking at patient data, assessing your health and lifestyle, and looking at prognosis determinants such as your age, gender, mesothelioma cell type, and cancer stage.

While your doctor forms their estimation by drawing on their expertise and medical data, that does not mean there is no hope for longer survival. You may be able to impact your life expectancy by leading the healthiest lifestyle you can. As well, access to frontline treatments can help you improve your survival rate. It’s important to remember that new advancements in how we treat mesothelioma have shown improvements in life expectancy.

As well, know that the way mesothelioma progresses in one patient may be different from cancer’s course in another patient. Your doctor will help you determine the best treatment combinations to help improve your prognosis.

Factors Affecting Life Expectancy For Mesothelioma Patients

Life Expectancy Factors Update

There is a range of things that factor into your doctor’s prediction of life expectancy. The disease stage is one such factor. The stage represents how advanced the cancer is and how far it has spread from the original location. Of course, early stage mesothelioma is more treatable, and therefore generally presents better life expectancy.


The location that the mesothelioma presents itself will also have an impact on life expectancy. This is because the cancer location can determine the number of treatment options. Peritoneal mesothelioma patients generally live longer than patients with pleural mesothelioma, with more than half surviving 5 years after diagnosis. Pericardial mesothelioma has the poorest prognosis of the three main types. The location of cancer has a lot to do with how treatable it is.

Cell Type

The mesothelioma cell type (mesothelioma histology) also affects life expectancy. There are three primary cell variants. Epithelioid mesothelioma presents the longest life expectancy because these cells respond to treatment best. Biphasic mesothelioma is somewhat more difficult to treat, but this depends on the ratio of epithelioid to sarcomatoid cells in the tumor. Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is the most difficult to treat because it can spread to other parts of the body more easily. Although sarcomatoid mesothelioma is the rarest type, it can be hard to detect because it resembles healthy tissue. Sarcomatoid cells are also less responsive to therapy because they are resistant to the anti-cancer drugs.

Survival Rate

Survival rate differs from life expectancy, though the terms can sometimes be confusing. While life expectancy is a prediction of how long a given patient is expected to survive, survival rate describes the percentage of patients who survive a given benchmark after they’ve been diagnosed. Most commonly, this is measured using 1 year and 5 year milestones. According to 2015 study in Translational Oncology, for pleural mesothelioma, the survival rate for 1 year is 73%, for 5 years, it is 12%, and for 10 years, it is 5%.  For peritoneal mesothelioma the 1-year survival rate is 92%, the 5-year survival rate is 65%, and the 10-year survival rate is 39%. The study, titled Changing Pattern in Malignant Mesothelioma Survival shows a positive improvement in mesothelioma survival rates.

Survival rates are formed based on statistics informed by historical patient data. It’s key to be aware of misleading survival rate statistics and know the limits of their accuracy. The data often includes patients who didn’t undergo necessary treatment as well as those who didn’t have access to mesothelioma specialists. A mesothelioma specialist can typically provide much more relevant care and treatment than a general oncologist.

The medical community is learning more and more about this form of cancer and understanding it better. New mesothelioma treatment combinations are being improved and tested as well. All this is leading to an improvement in survivorship for mesothelioma patients, and there is more hope for the future.

Individual Patient Factors

In addition to cancer-specific factors such as stage and cell type, your biology plays an important role in how your life expectancy is determined.

Here are a few of those biological factors:

Patient Age

Your age factors into your prognosis, and thereby your life expectancy. Because younger patients tend to have stronger immune systems, they are often better qualified for aggressive treatments. They can recover more quickly as well. More than 40% of patients under the age of 45 reach the 5-year survival rate after being diagnosed. By contrast, less than 6% of patients over 65 will live to that 5-year mark. That being said, there are steps you can take to improve the quality of life in older patients.

Patient Gender

When it comes to life expectancy for mesothelioma, women tend to have better prognoses than men do. The reason for this isn’t entirely certain, but it may have to do with hormones. However, the statistics are clear, as women are three times more likely to survive 5 years after diagnosis than men are.

How to Increase Your Life Expectancy

There are steps you can take to improve your prognosis, possibly impacting your life expectancy. The first step to take is to find a mesothelioma specialist. A specialist understands the type of cancer you have in-depth and can provide the most optimal recommendations for treatment, lifestyle changes, and support.

While general oncologists can provide a good level of care and expertise, mesothelioma specialists are far more qualified to provide advice on how to improve your prognosis or what line of treatment to embrace. Remember that mesothelioma is a very rare form of cancer, so many oncology professionals are not familiar with its complexities and specific characteristics. Mesothelioma specialists are at the forefront of the industry, providing high-level care and expertise. They are also informed of the latest developments and innovations in mesothelioma treatments.

Your doctor can:

Don’t forget to take care of your general health to the best of your ability. Improving your immune system, increasing your physical fitness, and avoiding other illnesses can all contribute to your body’s ability to fight mesothelioma.

Some steps you can take include:

  • Eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. See a nutritionist or talk to your doctor for a specific, personalized diet plan
  • Quitting smoking
  • Get enough sleep each night
  • Stay active and exercise when you can
  • Do activities that help you de-stress
  • Keep your mind active with reading or puzzles
  • Drink fluids to keep your body hydrated

In addition to physical measures, make sure you find a healthy way to cope with the emotional and mental stressors that cancer and treatment can lead to. Find support systems in your friends, family, and care team. Do things that you enjoy regularly and find a schedule and lifestyle that works for you.

Contact Mesothelioma Help Now today to speak with one of our representatives. We can answer questions, provide resources, or connect you with a mesothelioma specialist who can provide you with the best treatment to improve your life expectancy. Call us now at (800) 584-4151.